How to Study Indian Polity Effectively for UPSC Exams?

How to Study Indian Polity for UPSC Exams

How to study Indian Polity is undoubtedly a common query asked by a majority of UPSC aspirants.

To settle all your doubts regarding how you should start your preparation process, our experts have listed out helpful tips you can inculcate in your study routine to achieve your desired target.

The Right Approach To Study Indian Polity

  • Indian Polity has a considerable weightage in all the three stages of exam, i.e., the prelims, mains and interview.
  • This subject is highly theoretical in nature, but its study will aid you in formulating a better sense of awareness regarding the rights, duties, and responsibilities of an individual in India.
  • It will help you understand the pivotal role the government plays in the efficient functioning of a democracy.
  • Let us take  a look at the important topics under Indian polity and Governance that you must focus on :-
  1. The Constitution Of India-  History, Making , And Philosophy
  2. The Unions And Its Territory
  3. Citizenship
  4. The Fundamental Rights
  5. The Fundamental Duties
  6. The Directive Principles Of State Policy
  7. The Amendments To The Constitution
  8. The Union Government, The Executive, And The Parliament
  9. The State Government; The State Executive And The State Legislature
  10. The Union Territories’ Administration
  11. The Federal System
  12. The Emergency Provisions
  13. The Administration Of Special Areas
  14. The Inter-state Relations
  15. The Constitutional Bodies
  16. The Non-constitutional Bodies
  17. The Judiciary
  18. The Special Provisions Made For The STs,STs, Minorities, Backward Class And The Anglo-indians
  19. The Tribunals
  20. The Panchayati Raj
  21. The Rights Issues
  22. The Governance And Public Policy
  • We know that the syllabus looks intimidating. But do not let that make you nervous.  
  • Remember this rule : Study to understand and apply knowledge conceptually, do not study to learn the syllabus.

The Books To Refer

  1. Ncert Textbook (Class X) – Democratic Politics II
  2. Ncert Textbook (Class Xi) – Indian Constitution At Work
  3. Indian Polity By Author M Laxmikanth
  • The ncert textbooks will help you gather basic knowledge of Polity in India
  • Once you’ve finished these, you should move to Laxmikanth’s Indian Polity. This comprehensive and resourceful book is the bible of all UPSC aspirants preparing for this subject.

Preparation Strategy

  • You must study this subject with the objective of gaining knowledge in a way that helps you apply it conceptually to the questions asked in the exams.
  • Many students mistakenly try to mug up the theory, failing to understand that UPSC never asks direct questions.
  • From the perspective of examination, let’s understand the questions’ nature:

The questions asked under this topic are definitely tricky, but highly scoring. We can categorize the questions into the easy, moderate and difficult range.

Requires basic knowledge

Given the following statements:

  • Speakers of the legislative assembly shall vacate their office if they cease to be a member of the assembly.
  • When the legislative assembly gets dissolved, the speaker shall vacate their office immediately.

Which among the above statements given is/are true?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 an d2 both
  4. neither 1 or 2

Solution: option 1

Slightly tricky questions that demand in-depth understanding of the subject.

With reference to the Indian parliament, which among the following parliamentary committees studies and reports whether the power to make rules, regulations, sub-rules, etc, conferred by the Indian constitution or delegated by the parliament are properly being utilized within the scope of the above said delegation?

  1. Committee on subordinate legislation
  2. Committee on government assurances
  3. Business advisory committee
  4. Rules committee

Solution: option 1

Highly tricky in nature. These questions are created to confuse you. They require thorough understanding  of the question, and application of concepts that fit.

Which among the following best symbolizes the appropriate relationship between liberty and the law of the land?

  1. If there is no law, there is no liberty.
  2. If laws are changed, often liberty is in danger.
  3. If there will be more laws, there is less liberty.
  4. If there  is liberty, laws would be made by the people.

Solution: option 1

  • Since the number of application-based questions are increasing, you must leave behind the learning method, and move on to conceptual understanding.
  • Questions from polity are both basic and dynamic in nature.
  • When preparing the basics of a certain topic, you must ensure you study the related current events pertaining to the topic as well.

How To Read Indian Polity By M Laxmikant

The  book is categorised into multiple divisions.

  • For you, Part 1 is highly crucial since around 30% of the questions under polity will be out of these topics.

    Let us see what the topics are:-
    • The Salient Features Of The Constitution
    • The Fundamental Rights And Fundamental Duties
    • The Directive Principles Of State Policy
    • The Preamble
    • Union And Its Territories And Citizenship
  • Significant topics from Part 2 – Indian Polity by M. Laxmikant includes the following:-
    • Federal And Unitary Features Of The Indian Constitution
    • Interstate Relations
    • The Parliamentary And Presidential Forms Of Government
    • Centre-state Legislations
    • Special Status Of Jammu & Kashmir
    • Emergency Provisions
    • Types Of Emergencies
      • National Emergency
      • President’s Rule
    • Special Provisions For Some States
  • Under Centre-state Relations as well as Interstate Relations, update yourself with all current events relating to it.
  • The Emergency Provisions is a crucial topic.  You must also study different Types Of Emergencies.
  • Under the Types of Emergencies, give weightage to National emergency and President’s rule.
  • Financial emergency is not very important.
  • You must also study the Article 370 in detail as it talks about the Special Status of Jammu & Kashmir
  • The chapter relating to Special Provisions for some states is important as well
  • Let’s move on to critical portions of  Part 3:
    • Parliament
    • Different Parliamentary Committees
    • The President And The Central Council Of Ministers
    • The President’s Powers, Their Election And Impeachment
      • Pardoning Power Of President
      • Ordinance Making Power Of President
    • The Prime Minister
    • The Supreme Court
      • Public Interest Litigation
  • Pay attention to the Parliament’s composition, operation, privileges, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
  • You must read the President and the Central Council of Ministers thoroughly
  • The President’s powers, election and impeachment, the Ordinance Making Power and the Pardoning Power of the President are crucial.
  • The Vice-President and Cabinet Committee mustn’t be given high weightage
  • The Prime Minister is a major topic. Try to understand the position and associated powers of the position clearly.
  • The Supreme Court is another major topic along with Judicial Activism and Public Interest Litigation (PIL)
  • Part 4- The States And Constitutional Bodies
    • The differences between the powers of the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers, etc.
    • The differences between the powers of the President and the Governors
    • The Constitutional bodies and the Non-constitutional bodies
    • The Statutory and Non-statutory bodies
    • Election Commission
    • CAG
    • NITI Ayog
    • UPSC
  • You must read the newspapers daily to check current events relating to these topics
  • Election Commission, powers of the CAG and AG are important topics
  • Part 5 – Panchayati Raj
    • Study the Jurisdiction of the Panchayats, and the PESA Act
  • The remaining portion concentrates mainly on the IAS mains exam. The basic topics to be covered here are: –
    • Political Parties And Political Dynamics
    • The Election Laws
    • The Electoral Reforms
    • Anti-defection Laws
  • The Appendix
  • Here you should read:
    • Articles Of The Constitution
    • Constitutional Amendments
    • Union, State And Concurrent Lists
    • Amendment Process Of The Constitution
  • These have been repetitive concepts in the UPSC Prelims
  • Tables
    • From the prelims and essay point of view, the table listing the Presidents and the Prime Minister is significant
    • The table on the first cabinet of independent India is important
    • For the ‘making of the Constitution,’  study the drafting committee.

Besides reading the above mentioned book well at least once, you must adopt the practise of note-making and prepare notes for Indian Polity. Ensure daily reading of newspapers, and solving the prelims papers from the previous years.

We hope this clears all your doubts on how to study Indian Polity. This subject is a high-scoring subject if you have clarity and clear understanding of the basics underlying the concepts.

Good luck!

About the Author

Greeta Sulochana

Greeta Sulochana is a content evangelist with a flair for compelling creative writing. She has penned down her thoughts in poetry and prose since the past five years, and has catered her skills to the Indian and international audiences. She started out as an advertising intern with Grey worldwide, and is now a full-fledged writer in passion and profession, who has worked for major national brands.

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